Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa took MotoGP victory at the Portuguese Grand Prix Sunday with a dominant performance that saw him take the lead on lap 25 and never look back.
The Spaniard tailed fellow countryman Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing MotoGP) for much of the race before making his move four laps from the end.
Teammate Casey Stoner finished third, also matching the pace of the lead duo for much of the race, while Andrea Dovizioso beat Valentino Rossi (Ducati MotoGP) to fourth in a drag to the line, pipping Rossi by just 0.025seconds to make three Hondas in the top four.
The top eight MotoGP riders all used the harder option front slick, with Nicky Hayden in ninth being the highest placed rider to opt for the softer front. Every rider used the softer rear asymmetric slick which proved very consistent over race distance despite a track temperature of 36 degrees Celsius.
In particular, the Honda RC212V MotoGP machines of the Repsol Honda Team all used their tires very well today as Pedrosa was able to set the fastest lap of the race on the penultimate lap, and Dovizioso set his best time on the final lap as he dragged past Rossi.
The MotoGP race also claimed some unfortunate casualties in the form of Marco Simoncelli and Hector Barbera both of whom crashed on the opening lap, Karel Abraham who fell on lap two and Ben Spies on lap 13.
Hiroshi Yamada (Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department) says: “Jorge has a great record at Estoril and again rode very strongly today, but ultimately Dani just had a little bit more in the closing stages of the MotoGP race as he found some more time to set two consecutive fastest race laps to seal his victory.
“I’d like to congratulate Dani for his first victory of 2011 and also the Repsol Honda Team for putting their three bikes in the top four here. We’ve now had three different winners from the first three races this season which is good for the sport and a good indication of how close the field is this season.”
Tohru Ubukata (General Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tire Development Department) says: “I am pleased that in the race we could see four riders using the softer option front tyre which means that clearly both compound choices were well suited to the conditions.
“I am also satisfied with the durability and consistency of the softer rear tire that all riders used, even though the track temperature reached 36 degrees. The track conditions today were again not ideal which is why the laptimes were a little slower. More overnight rain meant that the track was dirty again this morning, and it has not had a proper chance to clean all weekend so was still a little greasy or ‘green’.”
Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team MotoGP) says: “I am very happy for the win, especially as I didn’t think I could win at the beginning. Jorge here is always riding very smooth and very fast, but my bike was working great and with five laps to go I saw I was still there so I tried to make my move.
“It is amazing to win here, my first victory at this track. I am very happy for my condition too as it looks like surgery was successful finally. I was trying to raise the arm because it was cramping and I was waiting for the numbness but it didn’t come, so I am just so happy. It is a big relief.”
Bridgestone MotoGP slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium. Rear (asymmetric): Medium, Hard